7 Healthy Uses for Honey

7 Healthy Uses for Honey

Once upon a time, we had a beehive in our backyard. I loved being an amateur beekeeper and we especially loved having a source of (really) local honey. Unfortunately, the kids didn’t love the occasional stings from stepping on a bee, and we had a devastating winter and wax moths took over the hive.

Health Uses for Honey

Our love of raw, local honey stuck around though, and while we don’t use it that often in cooking or eating (since we try to really limit sugar and fructose), I still have many daily uses for honey.

1. As a Natural Face Wash

Sound strange? I thought so too at first, but after trying it, I am a believer.

I usually use the oil cleansing method to cleanse my skin naturally, but if I wear makeup or need to wash my face more than once per day, I use honey.

Honey is naturally antibacterial and is a much gentler way to cleanse skin than harsh soaps and detergents. It doesn’t strip the skin’s natural oils but can hep soften skin and remove blackheads or whiteheads.

Here’s how to wash your face with honey.

2. To Speed Skin Recovery from Cuts and Burns

Cut with honey remedyThe same antibacterial properties that make honey excellent as a natural face wash make it wonderful for speeding recovery from cuts and burns.

Raw manuka honey is now being used in medical settings to help protect wounds (especially with burns) and speed recovery. I’ve seen it work several times in our family- once when my husband had a bad cut on his foot and once when I sliced through most of my finger with a spiral slicer. (The picture on the left is only four days after a really severe cut that bled for almost an hour and that opened back up twice the first night. The combination of topical honey with lavender essential oil and consuming a lot of gelatin helped it heal incredibly fast.)

There are some specific tips for using honey to speed recovery from cuts and burns in this post, but from that article:

“Regular raw/manuka honey can be used and I keep both of those on hand, but I also keep a specific medical-grade honey on hand since it has been verified to have a high concentration of manuka for additional antibacterial properties. I have the following three things at our house for burns and cuts:

  1. Medihoney Gel for burns and cuts
  2. Medihoney wound paste
  3. Medihoney wound dressings for big wounds

3. Honey as A Cough Remedy

In the rare event that someone in our family comes down with a cold or flu, I use honey to make a natural herbal remedy.

This is one of the most simple natural uses for honey. I combine herbs like Ginger, Cinnamon and Marshmallow Root with raw honey to create a natural cough suppressant that also boosts the immune system to help the body bounce back more quickly.

Here’s the recipe: Natural Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe

4. Herbal Cough Drops

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even make herbal cough drops with honey and herbs. I’ll warn you, it can be tricky to get just right and really frustrating if you lose a batch, but if you manage to get them just right, the resulting cough drop is really effective and free of the artificial flavors and dyes that most cough drops have.

Natural homemade cough drop recipe.

5. Honey Shampoo

Honey isn’t just food for the skin- it is good for hair as well. I usually use my homemade mud shampoo or my coconut milk shampoo, but sometimes, when I want my hair to be extra silky, I’ll wash or rinse with raw honey.

The method is simple: just massage a small amount of honey into the scalp and hair and rinse. It is like a shampoo and conditioner in one and it works really well.

I often follow this with my homemade sea spray if I want extra volume or just let my hair air dry for super-silky hair.

6. For DIY Marshmallows

Store bought marshmallows are a disgusting combination of corn syrup, sugar, cornstarch, emulsifiers, and artificial flavors and colors. Traditional marshmallows (while still high in natural sugars) were a much better alternative of real food sweeteners and gelatin (which has many benefits itself).

We don’t make them often, but occasionally we make homemade probiotic marshmallows with real marshmallow root, raw honey, probiotics and gelatin. These are a great treat for the kids without the artificial ingredients.

Here’s the recipe.

7. Natural Sleep Aid

I don’t usually have trouble sleeping, but when I do, I have a simple go-to remedy that has never failed me. I simply scoop out a teaspoon or so of raw, organic honey and sprinkle it with about 1/2 tsp of salt. Instant sleep.

From my understanding (thanks to my wonderful doc), in a perfect world, we would have a natural cortisol spike in the morning, which would slowly decline through the day and reach a low at night. This isn’t happening in most cases (a topic for a post of its own) but many people have elevated cortisol at night.

Dr. Christianson talks about the importance of not consuming carbs in the morning and consuming them in the evening (from certain sources) since carbs naturally raise insulin and lower cortisol. You don’t want this in the morning, but when it is hard to fall asleep, this is exactly what you need.

It sounds crazy but it works wonders.

How have you used honey? Any other unusual uses I missed? Share them below in the comments! 🙂

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Reader Comments

  1. We don’t use honey often but we do like it occasionally with tea in place of sugar. I have heard that when honey is heated to high temperature it becomes toxic for consumption. Was wondering if you know anything about that?

    • It doesn’t become toxic, as I understand it, but it does kill the beneficial properties of the honey, making it no better than organic sugar…

      • I HAVE USED RAW HONEY FOR MY ALLERGIES. IT HAS WORKED WONDERS BECAUSE IT IS LIKE TAKING A FLU SHOT. YOUR BODY GETS IMUNE TO THE POLLEN.

    • I have read that too, so I dont use honey w/tea anymore unless it’s warm & not hot.

      • I use it for my tea. I have one of the machines that dispenses hot and cold water. I get the hot, which is REALLY hot, then I just add enough cold to a temp. that won’t ruin the nutritional value of the honey.
        I also use honey for burns and skin infections. If you get the honey on right when you burn yourself, it will not blister or hurt. When I had a “lapover” sometimes if I didn’t dry well underneath it would become infected. I just used honey and it didn’t take any time for the infection to go away. I also put honey on my face and leave on for about 1/2 hr. Really makes your skin smooth.

    • WHAT IS ACV? there where some good comments on the blogs i read and some great ideas i may try some and see if they work.

  2. I’ve always treated minor kitchen/cooking burns with honey, and I also use it to sweeten my coffee sometimes (instead of indulging in that sugar craving). I love honey and lemon in hot water to help me digest and relax after dinner, too.

  3. My husband and son are beekeepers. Yes, there is the occasional sting, but it is so worth it. Two of our children have suffered spring allergies. Last year was our first honey harvest and we make sure we eat a small amount every day. This past spring, neither boy had any allergy reaction.

    Unfortunately, more honey is consumed in America than is produced in America. Honey that comes from Asia is often adulterated with high fructose corn syrup or other unhealthy ingredients. One study (no, I don’t have the reference) showed that approximately 70% of grocery store honey was not pure honey. And some of the remaining honey had been pasteurized (heated) which means it has lost the wonderful benefits described above!

    Please support your local beekeeper. Get to know them, and seek a trustworthy supplier of this precious health food.

    • I love raw, unpasteurized, honey! It’s the only way I’ll buy it!

      Great post, I may have to try it as a face wash!

  4. for waxing! I have tried this but not successfully yet. sugar, honey and lemon juice (: great idea if we could get the method down!

  5. I’m going to try this today! I love your ideas and am slowly working on making our household more natural and clean- we started with eating and I’m moving on to making products.

  6. Hi, I’m looking for a good Natural Bodywash recipe.. I’ve been making one with Br. Bronner’s castile liquid soap, honey and vit E oil and essential oil (which I love) but I wanted to see what Katie might have to try but can’t find one on her site…Thanks!

  7. Passing #7 onto my son who’s always had problems falling asleep. Keeping my fingers crossed that it works for him. Thanks!

    • I saw this article yesterday, and right before bed last night, I had some decaf tea with a good bit of honey in it. Last night I slept great for the first time in several weeks. I feel so joyful today! I can’t thank Wellness Mama enough for all the beneficial tips I’ve gotten here, but to be able to fall asleep and sleep fairly soundly all night? There aren’t words.

      It makes me proud to be a beekeeper.

  8. Honey, I’m a honey fanatic! I’ve heard about washing my face with it, but I’m a bit of a hoarder and I’m still trying to get through all my face wash products, so it will be a while haha. As for a sleep aid I never knew that! It explains a lot though, I always have a cup of herbal tea and honey before bed <3. Thanks for the info.

  9. I have used honey as a face wash at times and love it. I use the oil cleansing method every evening. Sometimes all I use in the morning is a warm washcloth,but if I have a little extra time I will massage a small amount of raw honey all over my face, and leave it on while I do my oil pulling. I rinse it off in the shower. Skin looks and feels wonderful!

  10. Hi. I’m curious if anyone could point me in the direction of uses for bee pollen? I’ve been doing some mild research. Someone gave it to me, but couldn’t tell me how to use it. 😉 Thanks!

  11. I washed my hair with honey this morning for the first time ever – wow, I can’t believe how well it worked! I have short, thick, oily hair, and I have been washing it with castile soap (followed by an ACV rinse) for the past 10 months. It works fine but I was looking for something with a better pH balance. I was skeptical about the honey but it is great, plus I gave myself a honey facial at the same time. I never have time for a honey facial in the morning and my skin is so soft today! I tried washing my hair with an egg earlier this week (also used the ACV rinse with it), which worked, but it left my hair pretty dry. I think I’m going to use the castile soap in rotation with a few of these other natural hair “washes.” Thanks for all of the great information!

  12. Is face washing with honey once a day good for people with very dry skin? I tried the oil cleansing method, but it’s too time consuming.

  13. These are really great tips. I’m going to remember the “honey sleep treatment.” I read some time ago that taking a spoonful of honey before bed also helps your metabolism and *might* help you lose weight. I think it has to do with the production of cortisol that you mentioned, Katie. I don’t do it, but I might start mixing in a little bit of honey in my evening chamomile tea.

    Right now I am using a honey/ACV combination on a skin rash that broke out on my leg last night. I thought it could be the beginning of shingles (which I’ve had once before) but the rash is almost gone this morning and doesn’t look like shingles sores. I’ve read that it does help with shingles rash/sores though, and I did use the ACV when I had shingles. I think the addition of honey to the ACV is even better!

    Cough syrup (to stop coughing at night): equal parts honey, lemon juice, whiskey. I’m going to take a look at your cough syrup next. Thank you for sharing it.

    Thank you, Katie, for all you do. I love this blog and recommend it to my friends and family.

  14. What is the reason for the salt in the honey for sleeping? I use honey when i get a cold sore. it cuts healing time in atleast half

  15. Great blog article! I use Manuka honey on my eyelashes. I normally have allergy eyes and since using the Manuka honey on my eyelashes, the itchiness is gone plus it also helps reduce under eye puffiness.

  16. Interesting comments and usage ideas. I’m not sure there is a relationship from bee sting allergy, which I most certainly do have and using other bee products. I have never had any problems other than stings. My inner arm, wrist to elbow was once really badly burnt used cold running water for 20 minutes (a very long time) then honey just ordinary from the pantry, not a trace of scarring and it healed quite quickly too. Wonderful stuff honey …

  17. Great website!
    I am from India and we use honey religiously in food and cosmetic products.
    So, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, when you add 1 tea spoon of honey with a glass of luke warm water plus 1 table spoon freshly squeezed lemon along with a pinch of salt (optional), one tends to lose weight naturally. I have been doing this for years and it does wonders.

    • I do the same almost every morning but add a little raw organic unfiltered ACV too

  18. I use honey mixed with with table sugar daily as a face scrub. It works great and is great for zits! The antibacterial effects gets rid of pimples in less time. My kids have used it and it is not drying like some potions. I use probably about 1:1 ratio, it can be varied to suit the consistency you like. I tried organic sugar but prefer white sugar as it is finer. The only issue is it has to be stirred every morning in the shower, but it is a small issue for me.

  19. My family has used honey for years topically on cuts and scapes. As a child I had some pretty horrendous accidents resulting in major scrapes- an example- riding my pushbike, flying through the air and slidings across the asphalt on the road. I ended up with a massive scrape all up my arm and elbow. Same on my knee. Mum would put honey on it and cover it up with bandages. The next day- what could have been huge thick scabs, once the dressing was removed, I would be left with tender, shiny, pink, healed skin. Keep applying it daily until completely healed. Even prevents scarring. Big or small cuts or scrapes, this stuff works! Cant vouch for it enough!

  20. I was wondering about the ratio you gave for the honey and salt as a sleep remedy.
    I tried it the other night and it almost instantly made me throw up for several minutes…Maybe 1 tsp honey with 1/2 tsp salt is too much salt? I am not allergic to anything nor do I have a sensitive stomach. I was wondering if you have heard of this before?
    Thanks for your help 🙂

  21. Love your blog Katie, thank you for the time & effort you put into it. Some years back I saw a special on the ABC where scientist put Golden staph into petri dishes and put an antibiotic in one and Manuka honey in the other & left them over night. The petri with the antibiotic in it was still covered in Golden staph but the one with Manuka honey was almost clear! I was sold from that day forward, as I know how difficult staph is to get rid of! So two years ago I had to have a caesarean, and my wound opened back up. It was weepy and red around the scar line & the doctor said it looked infected & prescribed antibiotics (pfft as if, I was breastfeeding!) I went home and started applying Manuka honey and within days it was so much better. I went back to my doctor just to get his all clear and he said infection had gone but of course didn’t believe that it could be the honey! BTW honey never goes bad! Its mandatory to put a use by date on food products but the honey they found in the ancient pyramids was NOT bad!!!

  22. after way too much sun exposure out on the lake (i know, i know, but the lake was so much fun i wasn’t thinking about how much time i had spent and the intesity of the sun reflecting off of the water) i wanted something that would gently exfoliate yet sooth the peeling and sun damaged skin. after some research i made a facial scrub with honey, brown sugar, and mango butter (i considered shea, but i have those two as well as cocoa butter and seem to use the mango butter the least so i had the most of it). i still use it now that its cold and i’m feeling dry and flaky. it works wonders and makes me look like i’m glowing.

  23. Last night I had done a face mask that had honey and cinnamon. It was 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. I left it on my face for about 2-4 minutes and used a damp cloth to wipe it off. The mask actually helped my acne and made my face feel WONDERFUL!!

  24. My husband swears by a remedy his grandma used: baking soda and honey. He uses it for everything from a sore throat to the flu. I use it with much less success than he does, so I have to wonder if it’s a placebo effect for him or if my body doesn’t take to it like his. Interesting either way. 🙂

  25. Any old kind of salt work for the sleep aid or is there a specific kind?

  26. Hiya! I really want to try honey as a shampoo AND conditioner instead of simply doing the traditional honey hair mask, but i have big, dark, curls and if i mess up the balance of oils in my hair in either direction it REALLY shows. Will the honey just leave my hair greasy if i don’t use this method regularly? Also, are you planning on posting a recipe for sugar waxing? Please do! I’ve found a few but none seem to work quite well enough and you always seem to have magic solutions. thanks a million xx

    • Hair reacts really differently so it is hard to say, but I have friends with curly hair that really like to use honey. One of them leaves it in her hair like gel. One hates it and can’t use it at all for fear of frizz. You may have to experiment a little to see what works for you (I know, fun! *rolls eyes*)

  27. Good evening,

    I have naturally clear skin except for the odd spots appearing on my t zone every few months.
    After having read your website, I’ve realised its more to do with over production of oil trickling my forehead and settling there, thats causing them.

    Here’s what I previously used to do everyday (be ready to gasp in horror):

    1. Exfoliate my face everyday in the shower
    2. Shampoo my head everyday before and after shaving it (by noon, I could literally see the spots of oil my head was producing to compensate for the drying chemicals used)
    3. Exfoliate my body everyday with a natural loofah

    All my life, its been drummed into me by family and society that you need chemicals to cleanse and maintan your skin (suds anyone?), turns out they were wrong!

    After stumbling across this site, I’ve thrown out all those chemical laden products and ordered raw, unrefined oils, Honey and jars to make my own products.

    Thank you so much for all this amazing information, its already helping my skin and Eczema.

    I’ve bookmarked this site and have shared with my wife, family and friends.

    I am officially a fanboy:)

    Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this message

  28. Hello,
    I just had a question regarding raw honey? Is it safe? I’ve always felt very cautious of any animal by-product being raw. I know it’s supposed to be amazing for allergies but are there any potential dangers?

    • It is considered completely safe for children over 1 year. Honey is naturally antibacterial, so it does not carry the same concerns as meat and dairy would

  29. I am in my first trimester and I was wondering if you could utilize the salt and honey tip while pregnant. Have you ever utilized the salt and honey while pregnant?

    • I have because they are both foods that I am comfortable eating, but I’d check with a midwife to be sure.

  30. Have any of you used bee pollen? There are a lot of mixed reviews online about it’s safety and effectiveness.

  31. Where do you get you honey from? I want to get some to have in the house.

  32. What kind of salt do you use? Hopefully you don’t recommend regular iodized table salt.

  33. I would sometimes get contact dermatitis on the backs of my hands and insides of my wrists. I never tried pharmaceuticals but I did try natural hand creams, silver and apple cider vinegar, but none of them worked like raw natural organic honey. I would put it on at night time and then place my hands in socks to sleep in to protect everything from the stickiness. In the morning I would rinse off the honey and there was a visible improvement every day until finally it disappeared. Nothing else worked like honey and it is so easy and natural. Now if I see the start of a rash on my hands I put honey on it straight away and its gone within about 2-3 days. Brilliant!

  34. I think I posted either on this thread or another where you talk about Medihoney already, telling of the NICUs my twins were in using it on them. We keep it on hand now for its wonderful healing properties and of course the fact that it’s not chemical laden is an added bonus. In the last 3 months, we’ve had several incidents in our busy home. Our 6 year old slipped and hit his chin and had one of those “if we go to the ER they’ll stitch it but it doesn’t really need stitches so it’ll be unnecessary pain” injuries. It was split open but barely bleeding, so my husband and I patched it with a piece of the Medihoney dressing and taped gauze over it. A few months later and there’s barely a scar left. My husband then had his drill slip off the screw as he was working on a home project and go through his finger. Cue the honey. Just last week I was bitten badly on the arm by a dog (mine, so I know he’s healthy) trying to break up a dog fight. Not wanting to spend a fortune on the doctor’s bills, I once again turned to Medihoney. My wounds have healed into barely there scabs from deep puncture wounds. I really vouch for the quality of this stuff!